Confession: How The Hunger Games movie changed my mind about the books.

When I read The Hunger Games series, I didn't love them. That's the truth. For evidence on my lack of love, you can check out my reviews here, here, and here.

My opinion has changed after seeing the movie. Before you start hating on me - let me explain.

My biggest complaint and frustration through the series was Katniss. I didn't find her likable, relatable, or enjoyable to read about. When most of the books are from within her own head and her own perspective on things, that was frustrating. It overshadowed the world building and the Big Questions for me. I can admit that.

The release of the movie led to some great articles about Katniss, the world building, The Capitol, and all of the things. And you know what, y'all? I started to see things differently.

This article at Tor convinced me that Katniss is indeed a feminist. And as soon as that little block was pulled out from my Jenga tower of frustration with Katniss, the rest of it came tumbling down. This article about the movie adding depth to the books struck all the right notes with me as well. Tor just gets me, you guys.

Anyway, after seeing the movie, I was talking to the hubs (who saw it with me and said it was "pretty good" which is HUGE coming from him) about Katniss and why I don't like her in the books at all - but admit that Jennifer Lawrence did a great job and seeing her on screen made a big difference. He said, "Yeah, but I think the point is that she's unlikeable, right?"

Huh.

SEEING Katniss made me rethink Katniss. Reading others thoughts about Katniss made me rethink Katniss. All of the exposure of the books and coverage from a ton of sources, in addition to a spectacularly done movie, made me rethink The Hunger Games.

While I may not have been a hater, I certainly wasn't a lover. That has changed. I plan to reread the series with fresh eyes and an open heart to see what else changes. I think some things will still fall flat for me - the love triangle, the rough transitions in book three, the lack of sincere emotion displayed by Katniss towards anyone - but I am interested to see what things change upon my reread.

In conclusion, three things.
1. If you can somehow make a convincing argument for Gale, I will send you a cookie. Seriously. How ANYONE can choose Gale over Peeta is beyond me.
2. Go ahead. Say "I told you so." I'll still love you.
3. If you read an article that discusses the books or movies that you'll think I enjoy, please leave a link in the comments. Bear in mind I read all of them on Tor, but linking them for others benefit is legit.


33 comments:

  1. Well, I can't say ANYTHING, because I haven't yet read the books. Even though they've been sitting on my shelves since Christmas. But you won't chuck oranges and bananas at my head, right, Lisa?

    Asher

    PS: Glad you enjoyed the movie, yo! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will not chuck fruit at your face - but you should definitely get on those books stat!

      Delete
  2. Your hubs is all kinds of genius because, while I LOVED the books, I do remember thinking that Katniss was hard to like and, at first, too unemotional for my usual liking. But now that I've been reminded that she was SUPPOSED to be that way, I see her in a different light (seeing the movie helped this a lot, too) now I feel like I have to ask myself that question every time I read a book and I'm like, "Man, this person is PRICKLY/COLD/DISTANT." Can't say that I'd like them any better, but at least I'd understand.
    I did see this article the other day that, interestingly, takes a totally different tack, saying that Katniss in the movie was TOO likable. There be spoilers, though, if you haven't read the books:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-gray/hunger-games-movie-jennifer-lawrence-katniss-everdeen_b_1376447.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree. It never crossed my mind that I WASN'T supposed to like the main character. Mind = blown.

      Thanks for the article, yo!

      Delete
  3. Aw, yay!!! Love these books so much. Glad you're giving them another go. And I agree. How could someone pick Gale over Peeta is beyond me! Book Peeta rocks, and though Gale is a hottie in the movie and Half the time Peeta has dumb hair, instill choose Peeta. To each their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought Peeta was PERFECTION in the movies. But yes, I agree his hair was dumb 75% of the time.

      Delete
  4. I think Gale in book one is totally a valid choice -- because we don't see the darker side of him until later, and their relationship in the opening of book one is really pretty wonderful. But beyond that, yeah, I cannot get behind him at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just think it is weak that he has FOREVER to tell Katniss how he feels (I mean really, they hunt on the daily) and he waits until Peeta makes his move to act on it. Peeta balances Katniss out, where I feel Gale would heavily tip the scales.

      Delete
  5. Love that you want a convincing argument for Gale! Ha! I'm not going to give it. The first time I read THG I had no idea why anyone even thought there was even a love triangle. I mean, he's not even really IN the book! They may have a lot in common, but the stuff they have in common is bad. They are both super pessimistic. With good reason, but still.

    I've always 'liked' Katniss. I got that she is a realist. She really isn't likeable and I don't think she is suppose to be. I liked that she questioned everything and she was the way she was because of circumstance. That is where Peeta brings out the better side of her.

    I didn't like Mockingjay. Period. I wish it wasn't part of the series. Not my idea of a good ending.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - their common ground is bad news.
      Yes - Peeta compliments her, though I never felt like she was worthy of his love. He is just so good and wonderful.
      Interesting that you didn't like Mockingjay. I know there are many who didn't, but I appreciated it as a closing to the series for sure.

      Delete
  6. I can't wait to see the movie-So glad you liked it! I read The Hunger Games & totally understand what you're saying. I don't really know what I was expecting when I started it, but I actually really liked it. I'm looking forward to reading the other two-when I can make the time! :)

    P.S. Are you going to the reunion in August?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm glad you read it and liked it! The other two are pretty interesting - I look forward to your thoughts! If you want to do a guest post on here, holla at me. :)

      No - I don't think I'll be hitting up the reunion in August. Will you?

      Delete
  7. I really need to see this movie!!!

    Jennifer Lawrence seems to play a different Katniss than the one I get a sense of from the books, but from the clips I've seen, that doesn't seem to be a bad thing at all.

    And as for Gale? He's kind of cool in the first book, but then he just Really. Needs. To go. Away. I totally second what you said- there is no argument for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that Jennifer's portrayal of Katniss is what also helped to really bring me around.

      I need to try and be more open to Gale in the books upon my reread, I think. I'll do my very best to find something likable about him!

      Delete
  8. Yes thank you ! I have never understood how some people would like Gale better than Peeta. It is inconceivable to me. He's practically non existent in the 1st book and seems to only be there in the 2nd book to add some kind of tension between Peeta and Katniss. It seems like people's only reason for liking him is that he's good looking...no comment necessary here. But then i guess I'm a little biaised here as I love Peeta so much. I think he's actually my fav YA male character of all time lol.

    PS : I heard that Movie-Katniss has more chemistry with Gale than Peeta is that true ? I'm anxious to see the movie now...it bothers me as peeta's and Katniss' relationship is such an important part of the book...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the chemistry between Gale and Katniss was more than Peeta and Katniss. But I am so firmly Team Peeta that it doesn't matter what the chemistry is! :P

      Delete
  9. I think you're right; Katniss is definitely not meant to be likeable. Sympathetic at times, maybe, but definitely thorny, willing to make tough choices, stubborn... She's a lot of things but she doesn't really leap off the pages going "LIKE ME" like some characters do.

    Gale.

    Oh, Gale.

    I do this thing where I'm drawn to the doomed ships, the ones that never have a chance.

    I think that Peeta balances Katniss out in a really nice and sweet way, but I didn't buy them in the books. Maybe it's because SO much of their relationship was staged at first that, although I was melting over Peeta, I just didn't "get" Katniss and Peeta. They were billed as the starcrossed lovers that by the time they started to BOTH be on the same page with their feelings, it was just too little, too late to me. I mean, I know that they truly do love one another, but I just, they're cute and all, but I don't get them, still.

    Gale. Damnnit, Gale. He's so dark and twisty, but I love him, and I think...he sees Katniss for who she is. He doesn't want her to change, he doesn't care that she's stubborn and prickly. I think Gale knows when to push Katniss and when not to, because they're so alike. I could see them constantly challenging one another, but in the series, I did wonder - if they were together, would they be good for one another?

    But I'm NOT okay with Katniss choosing Peeta. I felt like she took the easy way out...Gale was off the table because of Prim, so she chose Peeta. There was never really a tipping point where Katniss convinced me she HAD to be with Peeta...it was just "Oh Gale's gone and he was too angry, anyway." I feel like Gale never really took his chance to tell her exactly how he felt, and that if he had, we might have seen a different outcome, because TBH, whomever it was that told Katniss she would never deserve Peeta was pretty much right. Peeta is just TOO amazing.

    Disclaimer: I write a LOT of THG AU fics, where I write an extremely alpha male Gale who is fierce but has softened in a few ways, and this may have played heavily in my argument. :D :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly that the ultimate bringing together of the two was so lame and lackluster. "Oh, I guess I'll choose Peeta because he's left."

      Good point about Gale - I think he does she Katniss for who she is and doesn't want to change her. Not enough to sway me, but a good point none the less.

      Delete
  10. I loved the books but I felt like the movie made me reallyyyy feel a kinship with Katniss that I never did. It didn't make me go OMG BFFS for life but it made me really GET her more. JLaw rocked it. FOR SHO.

    And yeah...in the first book I had hoped for Gale and Katniss but the more I got to know of him I just never saw him as a good option for her.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Seeing her in the movie helped me relate to her so much more. Still not on the BFF train, but I understand her at least.

      Delete
  11. I had a conversation with a friend a while back about Scarlett O'Hara and how she didn't like her. I told her you're not really supposed to. She's a brat (put simply; I know she's more complex than this). To me, this is how Katniss is - I didn't really like her. I didn't hate her, but I didn't like her. And I think that's the way it was supposed to be. She's a hard person and she's pretty pessimistic throughout the novels. For me, the movie opened my eyes to things that I was aware of in the books but didn't really think too much about - mainly the novelty of the games to the Capitol vs. the impact they had on the districts - which gave me a completely different perspective and respect for the books.

    And yeah... why WOULD you want Gale when you can have Peeta? haha. I'm really glad you enjoyed the movie and it was able to change your mind about the books. They really did it justice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did enjoy seeing the Capitol elements in the movie as well. That added depth and more understanding for me that I think will enhance a reread.

      Delete
  12. AMEN to how can anyone choose Gale over Peeta! I really want to understand it, but I just can't. I just love Peeta that much. While I loved the books, I completely understand your initial thoughts on Katniss. And I love that your husband pointed out that she was kind of supposed to be unlikeable. One thing the movie really highlighted for me was how much more likable Peeta was than Katniss (as Haymitch reminds her). It definitely validates your feelings about her - even the movie mentions that she isn't very good at making people like her.

    I think the movie really helped me grasp the weight of the subject matter. I got so caught up in the books that I don't think I really comprehended the desperation and hopelessness of the whole situation. I really got that in the movie.

    But, seriously, PEETA. Love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is one of those super rare instances for me in which the movie ENHANCED the books...and I'm so glad it did. I did like that they slipped things in there like Peeta being more likable than Katniss too.

      Peeta love FOREVER AND EVER. And then some.

      Delete
  13. Well, you know I like the unlikeable heroines - from Austen's Emma to Katniss - I think we find them in worlds where only the unlikeable girls have a chance of surviving undimmed.

    I've been reading the book The Girl Who Was on Fire (YA authors writing about THG), there are lots of great essays on many aspects of the novels.

    To me the ending is more that Peeta chose Katniss, and she didn't object (perhaps not caring enough to do so) - but I also feel the ending wraps up too quick and too tight - perhaps the one point where I really felt the presence of Market Pressures in the trilogy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love you, this post, and all the comments! 'nough said.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I thought Katniss was way more likable in the movie. I think it helped that you could actually SEE her smiling and laughing whereas that wasn't something that really came across in the books.
    Husband did not like the movie. It made me quite sad, but truth be told, he can be quite the critic. Especially about YA. I'm just thankful he liked the books! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, I just wanted to put it out there that when I first read the books I wasn't really on a "team." Not for Katniss, anyway. I liked Peeta for myself, though :P

      Delete
  16. Interesting that it took the movies to make you like the books. That bodes well for how good the movie is, I suppose (I haven't yet seen it)!

    About Katniss being unlikeable - I get that we're not really *supposed* to like her, and her being so darn unlikeable is the reason I sort of hated Mockingjay, but...I always wonder, then why do Peeta and Gale like her so much? I could never understand why they're fighting over this mean, irritating, conniving girl.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I read The Hunger Games for the second time on Thursday before I went to see the movie with friends later that night. I couldn't believe how much better it was just READING IT again the second time. I didn't feel the pressures of the world and everybody loving it, etc. I was just reading it again because I chose to, and I ADORED IT. I almost fangirled a little bit. (ssshh, don't tell) Anyway, I cried in the carpool line, texted my friends about different parts, and then when I saw the movie, I teared up while I was being seated in the theater. I DID NOT care for a part in the beginning that was changed (HUGE for me) but the rest of the movie was spectacular, and the cast nailed it. I never hated the books (like Mike did) but I never thought they were like cheese fries either, ya know? Now, after reading book one a second time and seeing the movie, my fanship has grown for sure. I agree that the movie has enhanced my feelings a great deal, but more than that - reading it a second time did as well.

    Great post, Lisa. Thanks for sharing this. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course we would be in the same boat! Glad to hear you warmed to them as well!

      Delete
  18. I just love prickly characters to death.

    BUT.

    I would never hate on you for originally not loving a series as much as I do.

    In fact, I admire you for having the courage to change your opinion. I think a lot of people feel they must have the same opinion forever or rush looking like a flip flopper.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lisa, I don't think you're a hater! I think that Katniss really is unlikable. I found that the movie made me like her more, though. Oh, and ESPECIALLY Haymitch - he was downright lovable in the movie.

    But, seriously, Katniss is harsh, she lacks emotions and feelings and is kinda grumpy MOST of the time in the books. Saying all of that makes me start to wonder why I love the books so much...lol

    I loved the movie too, though!! I think they did a great job!

    ReplyDelete

Hey you! What do you have to say?

 
Imagination Designs
Images by © Kelly J Sorenson | www.kellyjsorenson.etsy.com